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SDHC vs SDXC - Which Memory Card to Pick for Your Camera?

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The launch of SD cards have taken the photography world is taken by storm! But ever since the expanse of SD cards into SDHC and SDXC cards, everyone has one question – SDHC vs SDXC, which one to invest in?

Photography lovers are confused about the best SD card for their DSLR (or other) cameras because SDXC cards are equipped with many superior features than SDHC cards, but in terms of utility and convenience, the latter is still preferred. You also need to know and understand about all the Hidden features of you DSLR Camera!

SD card is an abode to all the splendid photos that get clicked. And it is impossible to imagine a camera or camcorders without a SD card. These SD cards are used to view photos and videos on other devices like TVs, computers, and laptops to name a few.

Before buying an SD card always ask yourself – What is my requirement?

Based on your requirement and with our help you can easily pick the right SD card! In this article, we will take a look at the memory cards, and offer a clear differentiation between SDHC vs SDXC memory cards so that you know which one you should choose.

What is SD, SDHC, and SDXC?

This is a very common question that confounds many people.

You would have known all about SD card due to your smartphone. In our phones, we need memory cards like miniSD, microSD which are sufficient to store data. Likewise, cameras use SD cards but in a larger capacity.

Let’s decode the terms SD, SDHC, and SDXC.

  • The term SD stands for Secure Digital.
  • The term SDHC stands for Secure Digital High Capacity memory card.
  • The term SDXC stands for Secure Digital Extended Capacity memory card.

Let’s look at these 3 memory card types in detail.

SD vs SDHC vs SDXC – Specifications and Compatibility

Going by the names, you must have figured that the difference between the cards is mainly in their capacity. SD cards are the most basic and offer the least capacity. Then comes SDHC cards and at last SDXC ones. Let’s take a look at their individual capacity ranges.

Let’s take a look at their individual capacity ranges.

SDHC vs SDXC
Individual Capacity Range Source

SDXC memory cards entered the market in late 2010; until then, SDHC cards were go-to. If you compare SDHC v/s SDXC, you will see that the latter offers a whole lot more in terms of space and capacity.

However, if you own a camera device manufactured up to 2010, the compatibility will not extend to SDXC cards. Only devices manufactured from 2011 onwards are compatible with the SDXC memory card. An amazing thing about a camera with SDHC support is that it is compatible with SD cards too! And if you have a camera with SDXC support then it will be compatible with both SD and SDHC!

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Speed Class

Did you know memory cards have speed ratings?

Read further and know what class is your memory card.

Every memory card has a speed class ratings written on it. Such as Class 2, 4, 6, and 10. This ‘Class’ is the data transfer rate of the card that is measured in megabytes per second.

  • Class 2 has a speed of 2MB/second minimum data transfer rate
  • Class 4 has a speed of 4MB/second minimum data transfer rate
  • Class 6 has a speed of 6MB/second minimum data transfer rate
  • Class 10 has a speed of 10MB/second minimum data transfer rate

This is how it looks on the card.For professionals who want a massive transfer of data within few seconds can opt for UHS class memory cards.

SDHC vs SDXC
Speed Class Memory Card Source

Some memory cards have a UHS (ultra high speed) class of 1 and 3 that offer a minimum data transfer rate of 10 and 30 megabytes per second respectively.

The data transfer rate is the (minimum, in this case) speed of transfer for reading and writing images to and from the memory card. Hence, a speed class of 2 means the images are read and written on the memory card, and also from it, at a minimum speed of 2MB/sec.

Let’s now look at where speed class is used.

  • Class 2 – Video recording – MPEG 2 & 4 and H.264
  • Class 4 – HD MPEG-2 video, DSC consecutive shoot
  • Class 6 – Professional video camera, Megapixel DSC consecutive shoot
  • Class 10 – HD still photography (continuous shooting), Full HD videos
  • UHS 1 – HD still photography (continuous shooting), Full HD videos
  • UHS 3 – 4K/2K video recording

As you can see from the applications mentioned above, a memory card with a very high-speed class is quite unnecessary because most photographers do not shoot photos or videos in such high definition that frequently. For standard cameras that use SD and SDHC cards, Class 2 suffices for video recordings. High definition camcorders can use Class 4 or Class 6 for obtaining good-quality HD videos. These speeds are sufficient for data transfer of the best quality.

SDHC vs SDXC – Which One Should You Buy?

Still in a dilemma on which is better among SDHC vs SDXC?

The current SDHC card specifications are, quite frankly, more than suited for standard and high-def camcorders. And here is the reason why.

Do you know what is the good thing about SDXC cards?

SDXC cards have a lot of space, which means they can hold photos clicked over a span of at least a couple of years. The issue here is that if the card gets corrupted or encounters some error, then retrieving those photos becomes a big problem. It is usually very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to retrieve or extract data from a corrupted memory card.

SDHC vs SDXC
SDHC vs SDXC Source

But here comes the con!

The issue here is that if the card gets corrupted or encounters some error, then retrieving those photos becomes a big problem. It is usually very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to retrieve or extract data from a corrupted memory card.

Similarly, photographers do not require so much space at once, even for their biggest projects which include high definition images, in one go. What you can do instead, as a more reasonable course of action, is to buy multiple SDHC cards of lesser capacity and store your photos in them.

High speeds are also not required for cameras and camcorders that are of standard format and make. The only devices that may require high-speed, large-capacity SDXC cards are those of very high quality or performance.

It is very easy to get confused in the SDHC v/s SDXC card debate if you aren’t well read on the topic. We hope this article serves to clear your doubts, at least to some extent. It finally comes down to the camera you own and your photography requirements. Ask around, do some window shopping, and then make an informed decision.

Also, we would love to hear your suggestions, opinions on memory cards, do share them in the comments section below.

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